In theory, mums can breastfeed wherever they like, whenever they like. Yet we still hear countless stories about women being asked to cover up while nursing their babies.
Remember the mum who felt humiliated at exclusive London hotel Claridge’s, after she was told to stop breastfeeding because it might offend other diners? Well, those are exactly the sorts of stories photographer Ivette Ivens wants to stop.
The US-based photographer has taken a series of striking pictures designed to normalise breastfeeding. The mum of two takes her subjects outside – in all weather – to show that it’s perfectly natural for a woman to nourish her child.
“I want people to look at it as if it was a cat nursing her baby kittens. Or any other mammal, if you’re not a cat person,” she tells Huffington Post. “Forget the covering up, nursing in a public bathroom, age restrictions. It’s between a mother and her child.”
Ivens breastfed her eldest son until he was three and still nurses her second baby. “I nursed them both anywhere I wanted. From church to parties, from farmers’ market to high-end designer stores. I believe that mothers should nurse their little ones whenever they want to,” she says.
She’s also an advocate of extended breastfeeding. “Children know when it’s time to wean off. Mothers do too. Strangers don’t know, so they shouldn’t care,” she says. Her I Breastfeed My Toddler exhibition has just opened in Chicago and later this year she’ll release a book called Breastfeeding Goddesses.
Ivens is the latest in a growing line of people taking on breastfeeding shamers – with celebrities such as Alyssa Milano leading the charge. Not to mention the new social media trend of “brelfies” – breastfeeding selfies.